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Keep taking me out to the Scrappers’ ballgame

Spring is getting closer. For Major League Baseball, spring training has arrived.

Baseball itself is twisting in the wind after the proof that the world champions of 2017, the Houston Astros, pulled off a caper by stealing signs electronically, and just maybe the 2018 world champs, the Boston Red Sox, did so as well. Say it isn’t so!

None of us can remember the 1919 scandal, when the Chicago White Sox actually threw the World Series, making the Cincinnati Reds the champs. They were cheaters also. They said it could never happen again.

What sort of punishment looms for the players of the Astros and Red Sox, if any? Their managers and general managers have been disciplined and some fired. What is next?

We also have gotten the sad news that our own lovable Mahoning Valley Scrappers could be on the chopping block in the near future. Why? We all love to sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” This song and the game itself have been an American pastime for more than a century.

As a fan and a spectator, I believe an evening at Eastwood Field is a great night out. Cost is at a minimum and you see baseball at its best, as these young players go all out to play the game as it should be played without any form of cheating. This is long before they become stars and millionaires.

The beer and the hot dogs make it an even greater night out, not to mention the picnic pavilion for groups to enjoy their camaraderie and fun.

The sad note for all of this is that the Scrappers supposedly are listed as one of some 42 minor league teams to get the ax and be phased out after our 2020 season. Besides our own Mahoning Valley Scrappers, the list includes other teams associated with the New York-Penn League.

This is formally called the restructuring of minor league baseball. It seems that everything in today’s world is all about money or the lack of. Could this be the cause of this calamity?

The impact alone of life without the Scrappers is just terrible, and deserves many “boos.”

You see, the Scrappers have hit a long home run for our Valley since their inception in 1999 and deserve to be with us, shall we say, forever.

We all know by now that baseball is a big business, as indicated by all the millionaires who play this great game at the major league level. Some are just bench players commanding large incomes for what some still call just a kid’s game.

Down through the years, these Scrappers have supplied the Cleveland Indians with some really great ball payers, including the likes of C.C. Sabathia, Victor Martinez, Jason Kipnis and the great Francisco Lindor, just to name a few. A form of gratitude has to be in play from the Indians hierarchy for the development of the great alumni that first performed at Eastwood Field.

I was so glad to read about the recent rally for the Scrappers at the Eastwood Mall and also much support from all the commissioners, leaders and politicians and the many fans who appear nightly enjoying those warm summer nights with baseball at its best.

As the song says, “If they don’t win, it’s a shame.” Let’s all hope that our Mahoning Valley Scrappers stay intact for many years to come.

We were all so heartbroken when General Motors left our Valley at Lordstown. We don’t want this to happen again with our amazing Scrappers in the near future.

But for this year for sure, we can still enjoy Eastwood and can hardly wait for the umpire at our first home game to cry out: “Play Ball!”

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